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  • By BERNICE TORREGROSSA Correspondent
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Although Thanksgiving marks the yearly high point of actual pumpkin eating, thanks largely to the near-ubiquitous appearance if pumpkin pies, in recent years that pie consumption has been dwarfed by a monthslong parade of pumpkin-spice products. Starbucks has sold more than 350 million pumpk…

  • By LYNDA BALSLEV
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I discovered persimmons when I lived in Europe, where they are commonly known as Sharon fruit. They were a mystery to me at first, these orange, tomato-shaped creatures — how to eat them? Skin or no skin? I quickly learned to enjoy persimmons in their entirety, with their taught, crisp skin …

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  • By BERNICE TORREGROSSA Correspondent
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A new restaurant usually means seeing familiar foods presented with a new spin, and the newly opened Pappas Delta Blues Smokehouse delivers on that concept. Billed as “A new BBQ experience,” the smokehouse aims to elevate barbecue by using prime meats and updated Southern side dishes.

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  • By BERNICE TORREGROSSA
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Everyone has a very individual idea of what constitutes the perfect bowl of chili. For some people, it’s got to have beans, while “bean” is a fighting word to other Texas cooks. Chili is so ingrained in Texas cuisine that even vegans find ways to make a satisfying bowl of chili.

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Most of us are content to scoop up a chipful of creamy, spicy chile con queso without giving much thought as to where it came from, but not Lisa Fain. The author of two popular “Homesick Texan” cookbooks and an award-winning food blog, Fain traced the origins of the Tex-Mex staple and docume…

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  • By BERNICE TORREGROSSA
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Oktoberfest at Galveston’s First Evangelical Lutheran Church features a wide array of sausages, strudel and other German favorites, but according to Pastor Richard Rhoades, that’s only the second-best thing about the annual celebration. “Last year was my first, and the food was great, but wh…

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  • By BERNICE TORREGROSSA
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It may be mid-October right now, but November and December, full of potlucks, special gatherings and nights when there’s no time to cook, are right around the corner. The best insurance against a last-minute scramble for those occasions is to start putting a few prepared items in the freezer…

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  • By BERNICE TORREGROSSA
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At this time of year, it’s easy to give a nod to the coming of fall by putting a pumpkin on the porch, and cooks can get the same boost of seasonal appeal by putting a pumpkin in the oven.

  • Lynda Balslev
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Early fall yields a rainbow of pepper fruit at the farmers’ market — sweet bells, cherries, Hungarians, Fresnos, Jimmy Nardellos, poblanos. It’s impossible not to scoop up a bag’s worth of these beauties simply for their colors and shapes. The trick is to find all sorts of ways to put them t…

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  • By BERNICE TORREGROSSA Correspondent
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When the doors open Thursday night for the members’ preview of the Friends of Rosenberg Library’s annual used book sale, it’s a safe bet that some of Galveston County’s most avid cooks will be heading straight for the cookbook section.

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  • By BERNICE TORREGROSSA
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When intrepid sailors take to the high seas Oct. 5 in Lakewood Yacht Club’s Harvest Moon Regatta, they’ll be charting a new course due to hurricane damage to their usual finish line in Port Aransas. The regatta, formerly a one-way race from the Galveston beach front to Port Aransas, has been…

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  • By BERNICE TORREGROSSA
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Galveston College will offer a very different kind of French lesson Oct. 14, presenting a menu with a French accent as part of its major fundraising event, “Cabaret Au Lapin Agile-Paris” on the college’s campus.

  • By LYNDA BALSLEV
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Roasted strips of eggplant, zucchini and red peppers alternate with lasagna sheets in this veggie-enhanced family favorite. It’s just like lasagna, but lighter and fresher. No worries, though. There’s enough gooey melted cheese and tomato sauce rippling through this version that the most ard…

  • By LYNDA BALSLEV
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There is something infinitely satisfying about presenting a complete dinner heaped on one platter. The arrangement suggests a family-style feast. It’s a fun method for casual dining, which allows everyone to dig into a balanced meal combining meat, greens and grains, or in this case, noodles.

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  • By BERNICE TORREGROSSA
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There are few pleasures in life that equal a leisurely breakfast. Fueled by coffee, energized by a good newspaper, the best days are planned, and sometimes spent, at the breakfast table.

  • By LYNDA BALSLEV
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With school back in session, everyone should have a handy granola recipe up their sleeve. Homemade granola is a healthy pantry staple, ideal for quick breakfasts and wholesome snacks. It’s also simple to make, so why spend money on boxed granola when you can easily make your own in 30 minute…

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  • By BERNICE TORREGROSSA
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When the going gets tough, the tough ... eat a cookie and get going. There’s a reason why the cliché of a rom-com heroine finding solace in a pint of ice cream is so prevalent: comfort food can actually change brain chemistry and make stress go away for a short time. At times like these, whe…

  • By BERNICE TORREGROSSA Correspondent
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At times like these, living on the Gulf Coast can seem like a mixed blessing. After the umpteenth concerned friend or relative has asked why we continue to put ourselves in harm’s way, it might be time for a reminder of the best aspects of the coastal lifestyle.

  • By LYNDA BALSLEV
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Upside-down baking is irresistible. Whether it's in the form of a cake or a tarte tatin (a rustic French fruit tart), the common denominator is a gorgeous, gooey caramelized bottom, which, once inverted, becomes the top of the cake or tart. Nestled in the sticky caramelized goodness are hunk…

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  • By BERNICE TORREGROSSA
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“If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen,” was great advice from President Harry Truman. It wasn’t so hard for him to carry out, either, at least in a literal sense. America’s 33rd president had plenty of help in the White House kitchen, so spending any time at all in the kitchen…

  • By LYNDA BALSLEV
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When summer yields more vegetables than you can shake a stick at, it’s time to quick pickle. Quick pickling is one of the easiest ways to preserve a bounty of vegetables and a simple method to keep your veggies on hand for munching. The method differs from canning, in that the veggies simply…

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  • By BERNICE TORREGROSSA
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With two thriving locations, Galveston’s Own Farmers Market has plenty to celebrate, and the market’s annual Okrafest event provides the opportunity. “When we had our first Okrafest two years ago, it was sort of a tongue-in-cheek theme for a fundraiser, but now we’ve totally embraced the ide…

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  • By BERNICE TORREGROSSA
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It’s hard to let go of a long-held belief in regional superiority. It was a crushing blow to my elementary school when we had to relearn the words to the state song, “Texas, Our Texas” and replace “largest and grandest’ with “boldest and grandest” as Alaska horned in and stole that billing f…

  • By LYNDA BALSLEV
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When it’s summertime and the living is easy, I can’t think of a better way to enjoy the heat than with a refreshing, thirst-quenching beverage. Fruit syrups are a great addition to drinks, adding sweetness, fruity flavor, and vibrant color, and when there are more berries in the garden than …

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  • By BERNICE TORREGROSSA
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Cold soup seems to be one of those love/hate food items: people either find it to be a refreshing, light meal on a hot day, or they’re appalled that anyone would strip soup of one of its most comforting qualities.

  • By LYNDA BALSLEV
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Blueberries are a summer treat. Inky blue, sweet and juicy, they are a healthy snack you can pop in your mouth, fold into yogurt and bake into desserts. I grew up in New England and lived for many years in Scandinavia, where blueberries grew wild in our garden and forest. We would forage for…

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  • By BERNICE TORREGROSSA
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Cooking classic French dishes may be more than enough challenge for most cooks but not for the members of the Cracked Pots cooking group. They recently upped the challenge and re-created some of France’s finest cuisine in cast iron Dutch ovens on a charcoal fire. Members of the group produce…

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  • By BERNICE TORREGROSSA
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Fresh corn is near its peak, and there’s plenty of it: neatly stacked at the farmers market, piled in a mountain at some stores, and even displayed end-out in tidy rows at one retailer. One of the best things about summer corn, besides its freshness, sweetness, and pennies-per-ear cost, is t…

  • By Lynda Balslev
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It’s grilling season, and everyone should have a no-fail marinade to rely on to carry them through the summer. It should be something simple and versatile, easy to whip up within minutes with just a handful of ingredients, and flexible enough that you can use it on all your favorite grillabl…

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  • By BERNICE TORREGROSSA
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Backyard gardeners, devotees of farmers markets, and lucky friends of those two groups are enjoying a bounty of fresh vegetables. One West End Galvestonian recently shared some tomatoes that were part of a single day’s nine-pound harvest, but noted sadly that there were only a few more weeks…

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  • By BERNICE TORREGROSSA
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Anyone who still thinks wine is a fussy drink that requires a special vocabulary and fancy glasses needs to sit down and have a big glass of sangria. After all, not just one but two country music stars have penned songs praising the fruity, refreshing drink.

  • By LYNDA BALSLEV
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Summer season is about to hit full stride. This means one thing: it’s time for BBQ Ribs. Nothing says more than dad and summer than a platter of crispy, finger-licking, sweet and spicy baby back ribs.

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  • By BERNICE TORREGROSSA
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Hot days call for cold treats. The colder the better, and if they’re bursting with the flavors of fresh fruit, even better.

  • By LYNDA BALSLEV
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Do you have a grill? Do you love pizza? Then look no further for an easy technique that will result in delicious homemade pizza hot off your grill. If you don’t have a grill, fear not — this recipe can also be prepared in a hot oven.

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  • By BERNICE TORREGROSSA
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Many cooks feel inspired by the fresh produce that is so plentiful at this time of year, and a growing number are taking it a step further and eating “inspiralized.” That’s the premise of a series of best-selling cookbooks by Ali Maffucci, who started a trend with “Inspiralized,” a cookbook …

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  • By BERNICE TORREGROSSA
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Galveston cookbook author Lisa Lewis had a clear vision for her new cookbook, “Happy Healthy Cooking.” She focused on easy, family friendly, nutritious meals. “I wanted the recipes to be easy, without crazy ingredients you have to hunt down at Whole Foods or special tools you have to get at …

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  • By BERNICE TORREGROSSA Correspondent
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Sometimes the best souvenirs of a great vacation are memories of outstanding meals. A recent trip to the Eastern Shore region of Maryland and Virginia began with a seafood feast of local shrimp and crabs. The bright pink crustaceans were piled in a mound that stretched the length of the tabl…

  • By ALICIA ROSS Correspondent
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Editor’s note: This is the final Kitchen Scoop column. There is no menu with today’s column.

  • By ALICIA ROSS Correspondent
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Memorial Day weekend is upon us, and if you are like me, you have a crowd coming to celebrate. I love to feed large gatherings, but breakfast always seems hit or miss. In my family now we have babies who wake their parents at dawn; older adults who sleep in after years of being the ones who …

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  • By BERNICE TORREGROSSA Correspondent
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It’s an iconic memory from so many childhoods: carefully rotating a marshmallow over a fire until it gets puffy and brown, then sandwiching it between graham crackers and squares of a Hershey chocolate bar. Making s’mores was a rite of summer, whether it was done at camp, a beach bonfire or …

  • By ALICIA ROSS Correspondent
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Is it possible to make a homemade appetizer in just 5 minutes? I think so, if you use hard-cooked whole peeled eggs — widely available in grocery store dairy cases across the country. These cooked eggs help you make a summertime favorite, deviled eggs, in a matter of minutes.

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  • By BERNICE TORREGROSSA Correspondent
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When the smell of grilled chicken filled the kitchen at ADA Women’s Recovery Center in Galveston on a recent Saturday afternoon, it did more than whet the appetites of the residents. It also set the stage for a frank conversation about cancer, and gave a group of friends a way to honor a you…

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  • By BERNICE TORREGROSSA Correspondent
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Mother’s Day isn’t a one-size-fits-all holiday. There are as many ways to celebrate the day as there are mothers, whether it’s with pampering, something adventurous or just hanging out together.

  • By ALICIA ROSS Correspondent
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With Mother’s Day this weekend, I’ve been remembering all the celebrations of the past. For me, this year I will celebrate my mom, my daughters, and all the wonderful mothers who have touched my life. Isn’t that what Mother’s Day should really be about?

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Taking the time to gather our loved ones and show them some gratitude can get lost in the shuffle when things get hectic, but more than fifty Ball High School seniors are making it a priority. Even with all the activities scheduled for their last month of high school, they are participating …